#43 Damien Smith
Hometown: Louisville, KY (Product of Manual High School)
Thoughts: Damien is a walk-on from duPont Manual high school at the linebacker position. Damien played well in the sixth region last year finishing the season with 55 tackles and a spot on the All-district team (4th). I’d assume Damien will be relegated to the scout team for the majority of the season with an opportunity to move up as his career progresses.
During ACC media days Petrino actually offered some insight into how he runs the scout team and the first and second units during game week. Petrino said it’s not uncommon for him to throw plays at the first team offense that they never plan to use during the game but know their opponent will use, testing the defense as to how they will react. He also likes to see the inverse from Grantham to see how his QB handles new looks each week. The scout team along with coach’s preparation will be vital the first month of the season. Auburn, Houston, and Clemson all offer unique challenges as well as very distinctive styles of play. Preparing for Jeremy Johnson in week one is completely different than what Tom Herman (former Ohio St Offensive Coordinator) will run at Houston and neither is comparable to what Deshaun Watson can do for Clemson in week 3. ESPN Stats & Info sent out this tweet yesterday..
Best total QBR last season, min 35 pass att J.Johnson, Auburn: 98.8 M.Mariota, Oregon: 90.9 D.Watson, Clemson: 90.8 J.Barrett, Ohio St: 86.7— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 21, 2015
So in the first three weeks of the season the Cards will take on #1, #3, and the coordinator for #4. Don’t underestimate the scout teams importance. Week in and week out their responsibility to aid in the first team's preparation often goes unappreciated but is crucial to our success.
Sweet Tweet: No tweet for Damien but thought I’d use this as an opportunity to pat the coaching staff on the back in regards to pulling in the hometown talent this recruiting cycle. As of today, my count says we have 18 players from Louisville on the current roster, along with the 4 commits in 2016 so far, adding Keion Wakefield Wednesday. Wakefield has a brother at UK and a father who cheers for the Wildcats, but he’s been chasing a Louisville offer since Coach Strong was here. When Lamar Thomas and Petrino made that offer last month the Cards jumped into a quick lead over UK and Purdue and sealed the deal 48 hours ago.
Louisville did not get a single recruit from Kentucky last season and only pulled Bonnafon in 2014 and Quick in 2013. Petrino and his staff know they have to own Louisville in the future, and expand into the “big blue” part of the state when necessary. While most expect Tylin Oden too eventually part ways with the University, the Cards currently sit at #18/23/26 in the 3 major recruiting sites. This is unfamiliar territory for UofL. Even though the program has been very successful recently it hasn't always translated to high recruiting numbers so bravo to the coaching staff, keep up the good work.